Education Deptt mulls tuition fee reduction by 30%

The School Education Department (SED) is contemplating a 30% reduction in the tuition fee charged by the private schools due to pandemic in Jammu and Kashmir. The reduction shall be on the pattern of Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu model.

In this regard, the SED has sought a legal opinion from J&K Law Department.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Principal Secretary, SED, Asgar Samoon said they have referred the matter to the Law Department for their legal opinion. “Decision will be announced after getting the legal opinion from the law department.”

Earlier, he stated that the government may direct private schools to reduce tuition fee by 30 percent in view of recent judgments of High Courts of Madras & Rajasthan.

“In view of closure of schools due to covid19 lockdown from March to September 2020, the government may direct private schools to reduce tuition fee by 30 percent. Views of parents and management solicited,” he said.

Notably, on September 7, the Rajasthan High Court directed the school authorities to allow students to deposit only 70 percent of the tuition fees. The directions were given in an interim order by the court.

The court directed that the 70 percent of the fee should be paid from March 2020 in three instalments.

In July, the Madras High Court also directed unaided private educational institutions in Tamil Nadu to collect 75 percent of the tuition fee in two instalments.

As already reported by this newspaper, the parents are persistently demanding complete fee waiver citing their non-earning during the lockdown since August 2019.

However, the Private Schools’ Association J&K (PSA) has opposed the government proposal citing that they have faced huge losses in the ongoing covid19 lockdown.

“Like other sectors, the financial condition of private education sector was badly hit due to the covid19 lockdown. We are already running in losses and government is now tactfully trying to chock us further,” said President PSAJ&K, G N Var.

He said none of the schools would have earned even 20 percent profit for the past one year due to prolonged closure of educational institutions.

“In other parts schools are closed from March but in J&K educational institutions continue to remain closed from August last year. We are struggling to continue our operation,” he said.

 “The decision to reduce 30 percent of tuition fees in private schools will force closure of most of the low budget schools. Government should think about the survival of the schools before taking any final decision into it,” Var said.

However, the parents cite same reasons for their inability to pay the fees. “The private schools should understand the position of the parents also. If they were closed since August 2019, same is the case of the parents, who barring those who are government employees, have either earned nothing or made a mere subsistence,” said Gulzar Ahmad, a parent associated with tourism sector.

“The schools should waive off complete fee in respect of those parents whose business lines like tourism, transport, non-essential trade, etc., have completely collapsed for last one year.  Government would be doing injustice to the parents if they permit the schools to collect fee from them,” he said.